Krakowskie Przedmieście 57/14, 00-322 Warszawa, Poland
Photo courtesy of Filip Kwiatkowski/WarsawTourist Office
Royal RouteTechnically, the Royal Route runs outward from Warsaw’s Old Town, but when walking it, you should start on elegant Nowy Świat Street and travel along Krakowskie Przedmieście toward Castle Square. By reversing the direction, you’ll be able to better contemplate this historic part of town, which was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Postwar architects, who were determined to rebuild the Old Town exactly as it was before, turned to old prints, photographs from family albums, and paintings (in particular, detailed works by the 18th-century landscape painter Bernardo Bellotto) when constructing the area. It was a formidable and noble effort, but more than 50 years later, some still argue that the buildings feel just a little bit unreal.
Decide for yourself as you walk down Krakowskie Przedmieście, passing important buildings like the University of Warsaw, the Presidential Palace, and several churches, including the Church of the Holy Cross, where Chopin’s heart is buried inside a pillar on the left side of the main aisle. Eventually, you’ll reach Castle Square, at the center of which is Sigismund Column, commemorating the king who transferred the capital of Poland from Kraków to Warsaw.